No matter how quickly they dive in, any professional rep spends significant time learning about new sales processes, enablement materials, markets, and buyer personas. While this process is inevitable, it’s also frustrating for managers and reps alike to spend weeks onboarding before they’re able to get any hands-on experience or add true value. That’s why many managers try to reduce the onboarding time and get new hires up to speed as quickly as possible. The quicker a manager can onboard a sales rep, the quicker they can start selling – that’s a direct ROI.
This blog will explore ways to streamline the onboarding process so that reps can hit the ground running and start closing deals as soon as possible. Read on to learn:
Key frameworks for building effective and efficient AE and SDR onboarding plans
What to automate so reps can focus on absorbing messaging and kill points instead of manual CRM processes
How to arm new reps with proven messaging right out of the gate
Strategies for simplifying sales tools and technologies
First, the Frameworks:
AE Onboarding Framework
Phase 1: Onboarding – Get familiar with the everything supporting the Sales Process
Get situated with internal tools, technology, logins, and review call recordings with positive and negative outcomes
Learn all the opportunity stages and the criteria for advancing them
Read product marketing literature, sales enablement materials, and other seller resources
Dive into the product to gain a high-level understanding
Learn the company history, mission, and values
Phase 2: Qualification – Understand and conduct the qualification process
Internalize criteria for MQLs and SQLs
Review calls, create a script, set up role-play opportunities, test abilities
Get more comfortable using the product
Spend time with an SDR to learn their process
Phase 3: Demo – Learn how to conduct a “wow” demo
Understand stakeholders, objection handling, benefits and features and review demo calls
Get familiar with demo-able assets, different scenarios based on vertical or buyer, and then practice, practice, practice
Meet with members of adjacent teams to understand how you’ll work together at stages in the sales cycle
Phase 4: Post-Sales and Trial – Learn how to close the loop on a won deal
Understand what it takes to effectively run a configuration call and trial the product (most applicable to SAAS products)
Tee-up the customer for transition to account management team (if applicable)
Set expectations for quarterly business reviews or other types of ongoing check-ins
SDR Onboarding Framework
Phase 1: Onboarding – Get organized and familiar with tools and processes
Configure technology, logins, communication channels, extensions, email signature, etc.
Schedule time with veteran SDRs to better understand expectations for the role
Phase 2: Understand the Business – Review the market space, products, and how your team sells.
Phase 2a: Personas
Read product marketing collateral on buyer personas
Conduct personal research buyer personas, find relevant LinkedIn profiles, and job descriptions.
Understand which personas are booking meetings! Review their profiles.
Phase 2b: Product
Understand features and benefits, review customer demos.
Spend time using the product and make note of important features or potential pitfalls
Meet with AEs and SDR peers to ask questions and explore use cases.
Phase 2c: Competitors
Identify the top competitors
Review sales enablement or product marketing collateral to understand competitive feature-sets, differentiators, positioning, strengths, and weaknesses.
Phase 2d: Customers
Get very familiar with current top customer accounts and understand why they’re successful.
Meet with CSMs to ask questions and explore use cases, favorite features, and key challenges.
Phase 3: Review Messaging and Templates – Master differentiators, value drivers, successful templates, and kill points.
Internalize approved messaging and review approved email and call templates.
Solidify and personalize email and call scripts, and communication cadences.
Understand your team’s reporting and CRM.
Phase 4: Spread your wings and fly! – Set an individual plan and execute against it
Schedule regular meetings with your manager to plot territory, strategy, goals.
Review available tools and processes that support collaboration and visibility
Hit the phones and start prospecting.
Take time to evaluate what’s working and what’s not.
Now that you have a basic framework for onboarding a new sales rep, let’s explore ways to speed up the process so reps can start selling as quickly as possible.
How to Accelerate Onboarding
Tip #1 – Automate time-consuming processes
Even the most naturally gifted salesperson must spend time learning the processes that your business uses to track activities, deals, and pipeline. As much as they might like to given how much time it can take, reps can’t afford to overlook data entry. Tracking sales activity isn’t just about keeping reps accountable, it’s essential for forecasting, analysis, and optimization. Unfortunately, highly administrative and manual tasks like activity logging do take a lot of time away from selling. According to Salesforce, the average sales rep spends 66% of their time on manual tasks like entering data and cleaning up their CRM, leaving only 33% of their day to focus on actual selling activities.
The good news is that you can automate these manual tasks and eliminate a significant amount of the processes and workflows that a rep usually spends hours learning (and re-learning). Certain technologies like Sales Engagement Platforms are specifically designed to streamline inefficient workflows and give reps more time in their day. With fewer processes and data models to learn, reps can focus on mastering key messaging and kill points a lot sooner in the onboarding process.
To save your team the most time, you should make it a priority to automating the following tasks:
Log all inbound and outbound emails, calls, texts, voicemails and calendar invites
Surface follow-up reminders to trigger on custom criteria (ex. “Follow up if no response for 3 days”)
Import new leads advance opportunity stages* based on meeting types or other criteria
Tip #2 – Arm new sales reps with proven templates
In some instances, it may be necessary for new reps to create their own communication sequences from scratch; however, in the spirit of time-savings, we recommend arming them with email and call templates that have a proven track record and let them adjust each to fit their personal style. Start by understanding which emails prospects are engaging with the most, and which are falling flat.
If you aren’t capturing these insights currently, you may want to look into a platform that can track your communication effectiveness, such as a Sales Engagement Platform. Even if you don’t have an abundance of data on your email and call performance, you can still look back at successful deals and look at the emails and calls that moved the deal through the pipeline. These should be a good starting place for a new rep and will allow them to start selling as soon as they feel ready.
Tip #3 – Simplify disparate tech and tools
On top of the new processes, messaging, personas, and markets to learn – reps also have a host of tools and technologies to master quickly as a part of their new workflow. Any success in streamlining the tools used by reps will save significant time during the onboarding process (and after they’re done onboarding, too). Since the CRM is where reps go frequently to update sales data, it’s a good candidate to review for opportunities to streamline manual and time-consuming tasks.
Our reps have found that bringing CRM data into their email inbox and calendar views has greatly increased their productivity. They can effectively bring their CRM data with them wherever they are communicating with prospects. Reps have fewer systems to learn and manage, and can conduct research and update Salesforce records without having to switch back and forth between multiple systems.
Leveraging these strategies as part of an overall sales engagement strategy has helped revenue teams like Popular Pays’ reduce on-ramping from one month to one week. Whether it’s automation, tracking communication performance, or streamlining tools, a Sales Engagement Platform helps managers onboard reps quickly so they can hit the ground selling and provide value right away. Are you interested in exploring Sales Engagement Platforms for your team? Reach out to get in touch, we’d love to help.